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The war in Ukraine and what we can do about it

Thursday 16 February 2023, by mond

It is almost a year Putin started the invasion of Ukraine and there is no end of this in sight:

So how did we get here? And more importantly: what do we do?

1.) I really would love to see Putin put to trial in The Hague. (Together with quiet a few others..) but the current war will not help to get hin there. Even in the best case that Russia decides to completely withdraw from Ukraine this will most likely not topple Putins power and will not get him arrested as a war criminal.

2.) While there are not exact numbers, the number casualities is in the ballpark of 100k death and many more wounded. And each days this war continues there are more mothers who lost their 18 or 19 year old sons. And for what? Why?

3.) There is still the danger that this conflict can escalate to a world war and also to a nuclear war. Even if we would assume that the chances are slim (say 1%) - It is complete madness to risk the annihilation of humankind. And I am shocked by how many people are willing to brush this argument away with the "but we can not let Putin win". No I do not want that Putin wins. I want him in The Hague. But I also do not want to risk the survival of mankind. A nuclear war can really ruin your day.

4.) It is no question that Putin has started that war and rather obvious that there where some miscalculations on the Russian side. Why he started it we do not know but certainly there must have been some forces (oligarchs) there that calculated that this war would help them. It seems this Prigozhin guy was one of them.

5.) I do not buy the notion that Putin was "provoked" by NATO. That is BS. But certainly we can not deny that a lot of people in "the west" are profiting from this conflict. Stock prices of "defense" companies are up. After the end of the cold war the military industrial complex panicked a bit and now that the "war on terror" has a bit dried out that conflicted is more then welcome by the shareholders.

6.) Each bit of infrastructure that is bombed in Ukraine will need to be rebuilt and that will also be a "business opportunity". With Ukraine being in massive dept there will be an unprecedented fire sale.

7.) With productivity being so high, it gets harder and harder to find new markets. I would have hoped that he demand for green tech would have been sufficient for a while but it seems that war is still the easiest way to create new "demand". As the saying goes: "Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars, now wars are manufactured to sell weapons." — Arundhati Roy. One does not need to be a conspiracy theorist to acknowledge that this war is in the interest of a lot of people on both sides. Thus it should not come as a surprise that the corporate and neoliberal media is general on this side of drumming up support for this war. The "but we must not let Putin win" (no I do not want him to win) is the ideological superstructure above the economic foundations.

8.) Price of fossil fuels are up - even more then those of the "defense" industry. One could say that his is the only small upside of the war. The downside of course is that higher prices are not cashed in by taxes to fund green transitions but just go into the pockets of the wealthy.

9.) And just for the sake of completeness: The excuse from Putin that we wanted to liberate the Ukraine from Nazi gangs is complete BS. As an undisputed fact: Putin finances Nazis all over Europe. But it is actually true that there are quite a lot of open Nazis in Ukarine. (A friend of mine who traveled there was quite shocked to see Hitler pictures in public restaurants, etc..). OTOH: Nazi symbols are forbidden here and in most parts of Europe - so the extreme right here (financed by Putin) has replaced them with other codes.. but for the most part I would assume the ideology is the same. Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepan_Bandera

10.) So it should not be a surprise that extreme right is in support of Putin. Not only because they like his nationalist, homophobe agenda but because they are literally on his payroll. But since Putin is not popular they hide their support for Putin behind some fake pacifism and whataboutism. This makes it hard for real pacifists - as we are under constant suspicion of being on Putins side. Certainly not helpful but also not surprising is are initiatives of the usual suspects (Sara Wagenknecht - always the darling of the far right and anti-muslim TERFs like Alice Schwarzer).

11.) Hopefully the pacifism (whether fake or real) will prevent further escalations but as there are economic interests in prolonging the war it will not completely stop it. The longer the war last the more weapons sold. The more damage that waits for rebuilding and the deeper the Ukraine is in dept the cheaper the land grab will be... And as the war drags on military hardliners in Russia will further consolidate power.
So if Putin actually ever gets replaced it would most likely with someone even more insane.

So... what to do?

11.) Even at the risk of being accused of being in bed with Putin or being on the side of the right wing, we need to oppose this war and we need to urge for peace negotiations. Each new day this war drags on there will be new mothers that have lost their sons and a day where we have not used all our resources to fight climate change, ... We need a broad platform of people to oppose this war that are clearly not on the right wing: Genuine left, churches, humanist liberals, ...

12.) Together with this pacifism it is necessary to make clear we are not fans of Putin and to denounce his right wing agenda and his right wing friends. Speaking of his right wing friends: The other small upside of this war is that we are now openly discussing expropriating the oligarchs on Putins side. This is an good development as talk of expropriating the hard earned wealth of the "job creators" was a taboo topic before. We should expand on this idea. As it has already been proposed: Why not some extra taxes on the profits of fossil fuel companies? And then use it to fund green tech. Why not some extra taxes on the profits of the "defense" industry? In the end they now profit from Putins war. We can not let them have this. And since we got started here: Why not open some talk about expropriation of fossil fuel companies all together - as they knew them well what kind of damage they where doing. I would even suggest trying some regress on any shareholders of that companies (even if they have already sold their stocks). Now I do not have any hopes that we would get that far - but if such a discourse even gets some traction that would certainly be the quickest way to stop that war.

13.) We should demand PUBLIC negotiations now. Currently both sides accuse each other of not being willing to negotiate and as it seems there are not peace negotiations anywhere in sight. With all the propaganda and misinformation it would be hard to tell who demanded what anyways. We need to urge both parties to put up their demands in public.

14.) We must support deserters from both sides.

15.) In order to quickly end there will not be a way around giving some concessions to Putin so he can save face. I do not like this as this asshole started that war and it seems unfair to let him "win". But in this war there are no winners anyways. Everyday Russian mothers lose their sons and Ukrainian mother loose theirs. What ever part of land that Russian would be allowed to keep it must be clear that all the people who lived their are allowed to leave and get some generous resettlement support from the west as no one must be forced to live under Putins rule.

16.) speaking of support: We must demand that any aid for the Ukraine is given as a gift and not as a loan - in order to reduce the prospect of a cheap land grab. (See point 11). It is estimated that the cost of this war is already about 2T$. So that would be 40k$ for every Ukrainian citizen, which would amount to about 10 years of average wage there. We must communicate to the Ukrainian people that we are willing to help them rebuild their country - but that each $ that is now spent with military aid will not be available later for rebuilding. So there should be an incentive for peace.

17.) As pointed out above: The idea that Putin was fighting this war in order to fight against Nazis in the Ukraine is BS. But OTOH fighting against fascists should be a no-brainier anyways: So in order to prevent Putin from using this as a pretext the west should demand that the Ukraine solves this problem by creating laws against Nazi symbols, while of course pointing out Putins hypocrisy in spreading homophobe, nationalist ideology within his own country and by financing Nazi parties all over Europe.

18.) While the whataboutism is a tactic of Putin fans to come up with excuses for what he did and it is important to point out that this is not a valid argument: 2 wrongs do not make a right, it would also be contra productive to ignore the war crimes on the side of the west.

Franz Schäfer (mond). Februar 2023.

(Photo: Wikipeida CC4.0 SA )

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